Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Lieberman fears ‘cliff’ dive is looking possible


< Previous Page


WASHINGTON » Senators bickered Sunday over who’s to blame for lurching the country toward a year-end "fiscal cliff," bemoaning the lack of a deal days before the deadline but bridging no differences in the debate.

With the collapse Thursday of House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to allow tax rates to rise on million-dollar-plus incomes, Sen. Joe Lieberman said "it’s the first time that I feel it’s more likely we’ll go over the cliff than not," meaning that higher taxes for most Americans and painful federal agency budget cuts would be in line to go ahead.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"If we allow that to happen it will be the most colossal consequential act of congressional irresponsibility in a long time, maybe ever in American history because of the impact it’ll have on almost every American," said Lieberman, a Connecticut independent.

Wyoming Sen. Jon Barrasso, a member of the GOP leadership, predicted that the new year would come without an agreement, and he faulted the White House.

"I believe the president is eager to go over the cliff for political purposes. He senses a victory at the bottom of the cliff," he said.

Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, was incredulous at Barrasso’s assertion that ‘there is only one person that can provide the leadership" on such a matter vital to the nation’s interests.

"There are 535 of us that can provide leadership. There are 435 in the House, 100 in the Senate and there is the president, all of us have a responsibility here," he said. "And, you know what is happening? What is happening is the same old tired blame game. He said/she said. I think the American people are tired of it. What they want to hear is what is the solution?"

No solution seemed any nearer, with Obama and Congress on a short holiday break. Congress is expected to be back at work Thursday and Obama in the White House after a few days in Hawaii.

"It is time to get back to the table," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., "And I hope if anyone sees these representatives from the House in line shopping or getting their Christmas turkey, they wish them a merry Christmas, they’re civil, and then say go back to the table, not your own table, the table in Washington."

Predicted Lieberman: "We’re going to spend New Year’s Eve here I believe."


story continues below
story continues below

Obama already has scaled back his ambitions for a sweeping budget bargain. Before leaving the capital on Friday, he called for a limited measure that extend George W. Bush-era tax cuts for most people and stave off federal spending cuts. The president also urged Congress to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed that would otherwise be cut off for 2 million people at the end of the year.

"The truth of the matter is, if we do fall off the cliff after the president is inaugurated, he’ll come back, propose just what he proposed ... in leaving Washington and we’ll end up adopting it, but why should we put the markets in such turmoil and the people misunderstanding or lack of confidence," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. "Why not go ahead and act now?

Obama’s announcement late Friday suggested that a smaller deal may rest in the Senate, given the failure of Boehner’s option in the House.

"The ball is now clearly with the Senate," said Lieberman.

He said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky "have the ability to put this together again and pass something. It won’t be a big, grand bargain to take care of the total debt, but they can do some things that will avoid the worst consequences going over the fiscal cliff."

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said she expects "it is going to be a patch because in four days we can’t solve everything."

It was only a week ago when news emerged that Obama and Boehner had significantly narrowed their differences. Both were offering a cut in taxes for most Americans, an increase for a relative few and cuts of roughly $1 trillion in spending over a year. Also included was a scaling back of future cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients — a concession on the president’s part as much as agreeing to higher tax rates was for the speaker.

Lieberman was on CNN’s "State of the Union," while Barrasso and Conrad appeared on "Fox News Sunday." Klobuchar and Isakson were on "Fox News Sunday," while Hutchison was on CBS’ "Face the Nation."



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.